Online Program

A classroom initiative to create PSA videos on the topic of childhood vaccine safety and vaccine-preventable disease

Monday, November 4, 2013

Elizabeth Scott, PhD, Biology & Undergraduate Program in Public Health, Simmons College, Boston, MA
Judith Richland, MFA, Communications, Simmons College, Boston, MA
Health information remains one of the most important subjects that internet users research online and 80% of internet users gather health information online. At the same time, a growing number of parents have concerns about vaccine safety and the CDC has reported that many children in the USA are under-immunized. In an initiative to provide information and learn the skills required to create and produce a PSA, students in a public health class teamed up with a visual communication class to create and produce short videos for social media. The assignment required student teams to choose a topic, research and prepare a fact sheet and write a short script using a provocative, lively and innovative approach. Using this information, visual communication students designed posters and videos to convey the importance of immunization. In the space of three weeks, 12 posters and six mash-up videos were created on topics ranging from a comparison of the risk of accidental death attributed to vaccine shots versus gun shots, to the ‘E Trade babies' discussing vaccination, to a video montage recommending vaccination and listing free clinics. The students gained many skills for creating a PSA, including writing short public health scripts, video editing, composing original music in Garageband, recording and editing video narratives. The next part of this initiative is to create a social media marketing plan to direct the public to view their videos and posters. All materials can be viewed at and the videos are posted on YouTube.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Evaluate the classroom opportunities for creating information on vaccine safety for social media. Understand the process of producing poster and video outward- facing media materials in undergraduate classes. Assess the skills -acquisition opportunities for undergraduate students engaged in creating information on public health issues for social media. Describe a social marketing plan for PSA materials produced by undergraduates.

Keyword(s): Social Marketing, College Students

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a microbiologist, tenured faculty and Co-Director of the Undergraduate Program in Public Health at Simmons College. I teach classes in both microbiology and public health, including the public health senior seminar class. In this class students undertake public health outreach on campus and explore the topic of public health communication.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.